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Kerry urges Assad to commit to peace

23 May 2013, 07:21

Amman - US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday to make "a commitment to find peace in his country", ahead of a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Amman.

Speaking at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, Kerry said a US-Russian proposed conference in Geneva seeks "to end the bloodshed what has cost tens of thousands of lives".

"We would call on President Assad to make the same commitment to find peace in his country," Kerry said.

Kerry said the Syrian conflict "is really challenging the conscience of the world".

"So we are committed to try to work this evening to find the unity in specific approaches, to find the unity to implement Geneva 1... that will allow the people of Syria to choose the future of Syria," he said.

That was a reference to an international conference last June, in which several steps were laid down for ending the war, which were never implemented.

Peace talks

The foreign ministers of Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States are attending the Amman gathering.

The acting head of Syria's opposition National Coalition is to attend the meeting and will be represented by its interim president George Sabra, a coalition spokesperson said.

The meeting seeks to discuss US-Russian proposal to hold a peace conference dubbed "Geneva 2" to bring together rebels and representatives of Assad's regime.



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